- Be present. You can’t very well listen to a sermon if you aren’t there at the gathering, unless you listen to an audio version. But being present is important. Listening to the sermon is only part of listening to the sermon. The other part of listening to the sermon is the time of preparation (through singing, praying, readings, and fellowship together), leading up to hearing the Word preached. Then after you have heard the Word, there might be more singing, fellowship around the Lord’s Table, and more praying. All of these aspects of the corporate gathering have a place in how you listen to the sermon. So be present!
- Open your Bible…or Bible app. Following along visually often aids in learning as opposed to just listening.
- Examine the Scriptures. You can’t do this very well if you haven’t done #2. Be like the Bereans, who upon hearing the Word from Paul and Silas “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
- Come with a pen. Taking notes is another effective way to learn and stay alert.
- Apply it. Take a point of application home with you. You are most likely to do this if you have done #4 and have written it down.
- Talk to others. Ask someone else what they learned. You will probably learn something you didn’t pick up on in the sermon or text on your own.
- Be slow to speak. Don’t take your point of disagreement up with the pastor immediately following the sermon. This doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions right after, but don’t engage the pastor with an argument or an axe you have to grind. Take your disagreement home, contemplate it, and then follow up with him later in the week. You will be more prepared to bring your point of disagreement and the pastor will be more prepared to receive it.
- Be quick to encourage. Do take your point of agreement and encouragement up to the pastor immediately following the sermon. Let him know that you were engaged and that God was working. Let him know that you were thinking and not just staring off into space day-dreaming. Let him know your eyes were closed in prayer and meditation and not asleep.
- Be easily edified. The average preaching pastor will preach hundreds if not thousands of sermons over the life of his ministry in the church. Don’t expect him to “nail” every sermon. Let the Scripture always edify you, not the personality or skill of the communicator.
- Don’t compare. Don’t compare the sermon or the preacher to another sermon or preacher you heard. Receive the Word from the one God has ordained to be feeding you in your local church.
Andrew Hughes | Category: The Church Community
Here are few ways to consider listening more effectively to a sermon:
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